Monday, February 10, 2014

Cameroon :Emeritus Bishop of Buea Pius Suh Awa dies at 84

By Christopher Ambe
Emeritus Bishop of Buea Diocese, Monsignor Pius Suh Awa has died at the ripe age of about 84.

Emeritus Bishop Pius Suh  Awa / Photo Credit: L'Effort Camerounais
    He died last night in a hospital in Douala where he had spent weeks receiving medical attention for his failing health, sources at the Bishop’s House in Small Soppo told The Recorder
    Awa, a native of Bafut in Mezam Division of the Northwest Region of Cameroon, was the Bishop of Buea Diocese for 34 years. After retiring in 2007, Emeritus Bishop Awa was living in Buea.
    He was succeeded as Bishop of Buea Diocese by Monsignor Immanuel Bushu.
    At the time of posting this report, the Catholic Church was still to make his funeral program public.
    Following is a brief profile of the Emeritus Bishop of Buea, which was part of a story written by Journalist Jude Abanseka and published in L’Effort Camerounais in 2010, when Bishop Awa turned 80 :
His lordship Bishop Pius Suh Awa, from Bafut, was born on May 4, 1930. He attended primary school in Mankon, Bafut and Njindom between 1938 and 1944. From 1945 to 1947, he was a teacher in Njindom. He entered the Junior Seminary in Sasse College in 1952 and in 1955 was admitted to Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu – Nigeria, from where he proceeded to Rome for further studies.

On December 20, 1961, he was ordained priest in Rome. When he returned to Cameroon in 1962, he was appointed as curate of Fiango Parish, Kumba.  He was appointed Supervisor of Catholic Schools in the Forest Area of West Cameroon from 1964 to 1965. In 1968, Fr. Pius S. Awa was appointed Vicar General of Buea Diocese and on February 20, 1971, His Holiness Pope Paul VI appointed him Co-adjutor Bishop of Buea with the right of succession. On May 31 that same year, he was consecrated and served as Co – adjutor Bishop of Buea until 1972. On January 29, 1973, Mgr. Pius Suh Awa took over from Bishop Jules Peeters as the chief shepherd of Buea Diocese. His Motto “Ut Cognoscant Te” “That They May Know Thee” was the spur of his work of evangelisation in Buea Diocese.

The spiritual life of Buea Diocese grew from strength to strength under his leadership. He invited Handmaids of The Holy Child Jesus to work in Buea Diocese in 1980/81. In 1985, he founded the Congregation of Brothers of St. Martin de Porres. The Carmelite Contemplative Sisters from Mexico came in 1994. Lay organisations that were created during his tutelage include Cadets of Mary, FLEP, FLACAM, CFM and Catechetical Team.

Bishop Pius Suh Awa played a key role in the opening of St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary Bambui in 1973.

The Diocesan Pilgrimage Centre – Bonjongo remains one of his memorable legacies. He also did a lot in Buea Diocese in the education and health domains.
Following Bishop Pius Awa’s request, Pope John Paul II created the Diocese of Mamfe on February 22, 1999.

On July 21, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI accepted Bishop Pius Awa’s resignation letter and on January 1, 2007, he addressed his last Pastoral letter to all the Priests, Religious, Christ’s lay faithful and people of goodwill in Buea Diocese.

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